The Nebraska baseball team (32-16, 7-9 Big Ten) picked up its first conference road win of the year on Friday afternoon with a 4-2 win over the Northwestern Wildcats ( 14-30, 4-12) at Rocky Miller Park.
After tying Brett Jensen’s Nebraska career record on Tuesday night at Creighton with his 31st career save, senior closer Josh Roeder took sole possession of the record with a perfect ninth inning on Friday for his 32nd career save. Roeder now has 14 saves on the season and needs two more saves to match Jensen’s single season saves record.
The Huskers struggled to score runs with two outs last weekend at Iowa and the Huskers flipped the script on Friday with all four of their runs crossing the plate with two runs. Tanner Lubach, Austin Darby and Ben Miller all delivered with two outs, including a go-ahead two-RBI single from Darby in the fifth with the bases loaded.
Chance Sinclair went 7.0 innings in his 12th start of the season and evened his record on the year to 6-6. The senior gave up two unearned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out three. Sinclair allowed three of his six hits in the fourth and retired the Wildcats in order three times on the afternoon.
Northwestern senior Brandon Magallones went 8.0 innings and threw 130 pitchers. The right handed struck out eight Huskers, but allowed three runs on 10 hits and two walks.
Nebraska first four hitters all record two hits, as they went a combined 8-for-19 on the day with three RBIs. The Huskers totaled 12 hits on the afternoon and improved to 19-0 this season when nothing double-digit hits.
The Huskers got Sinclair the lead early with a run on three hits in the top of the first. Headley got the offense going with his 18th double of the season and Miller followed with a single to put runners on the corners with one out. Magallones struck out Darby and looked to get out of the inning without any damage, but Lubach delivered a two-out RBI single to right field that gave Nebraska a 1-0 lead.
Sinclair kept the Wildcats off the board through the first three innings, but couldn’t keep the shutout through four. After retiring the leadoff hitter, Sinclair gave up back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases. With Cody Stevens at the plate, a pitch got away from Lubach and he tossed the ball to Sinclair in plenty of time to cut down Jack Mitchell at the plate, but Sinclair dropped the ball, allowing an unearned run to score on the error. With the game tied, 1-1, the Wildcats tried to bunt a run home, but Sinclair fielded and tossed to Lubach in time to retire Joe Hoscheit at the plate. RJ Watters put the Wildcats in front with a two-out single and the Wildcats held a 2-1 lead through four.
Magallones retired his ninth straight Husker with a strikeout of Christian Cox to start the fifth, but couldn’t run the streak to 10 straight, as he gave up a walk to Wes Edrington. Ryan Boldt and Headley each followed with singles and the Huskers had the bases loaded for Miller. The Husker designated hitter tried to tie the game with a sacrifice fly, but a shallow fly out to left field kept Edrington at third. Darby stepped in with two outs and came through with a two-RBI single to right field that put the Huskers back in front, 3-2.
Working with a lead again, Sinclair retired the Wildcats in order in the sixth and seventh innings. He retired the first two Wildcat batters in the seventh, but couldn’t retire his 10th straight batter, as Connor Lind reached on a single. Sinclair went right back to work and got a fly out, keeping the Huskers ahead 3-2 through seven innings.
Jeff Chesnut took the mound in the eighth and sat down the first two Wildcats he faced before giving up two-straight two-out singles. With the tying run at second base, the Huskers brought in Colton Howell and he struck out Joe Hopfner looking to end the threat.
The Huskers added an insurance run in the top of the ninth on two hits, with Boldt scoring on a RBI single by Miller. With a 4-2 lead, Roeder didn’t need the insurance in the ninth, as he made quick work of the bottom third of Northwestern’s lineup.
The Huskers and Wildcats will meet at 1 p.m. tomorrow for game two of this weekend’s three-game series. Lane Grindle and Ben McLaughlin will have the call on the Husker Sports Network and the game will be streamed live on BTN Plus.